County to seek grant for prosecution of capital murder case
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Oct 31, 2013 | 1315 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Upshur County Commissioners Court on Oct. 15 approved a resolution seeking a $185,000 state grant to prosecute a capital murder case involving three co-defendants.

District Attorney Billy Byrd, who did not attend the court’s meeting, told The Mirror later that only counties of under 50,000 population qualify for such grants. The Governor’s Office receives applications for, and administers, such grants, which are only for prosecution, he said.

The grant is for the cases involving the slaying of Ronnie Joe Gammage, 27, of Gilmer. No trial date has been set for the defendants, who remain jailed under bond, Byrd said Thursday.

In other business Tuesday, the Commissioners Court nominated five men for the Board of Directors of the Upshur County Appraisal District. Most of the county’s taxing entities will elect the directors from the field of nominees in December.

The court nominated two current members, Darrell McKnight and Jared Maddox, along with James (Jim) Bowling, Jim Ragland and Huey Mitchell. Law limits the court to five nominees.

The court also Tuesday approved continuing negotiations to amend the surface-use agreement with John M. Clark on Upshur County “school land” in West Texas. Certain revenue from the land is distributed among the nine school districts lying partly or wholly in Upshur County.

County Judge Dean Fowler said Pct. 4 Comm. Mike Spencer had been working on the matter because wells have been drilled on the property, and the court wanted to receive payment for everything from June 2012 through now.

In another matter, the court corrected conflicting language in the county’s health insurance plan document to show that the preventive care benefit for such matters as mammograms is capped at $500.

The court also Tuesday:

• Approved contracting with AuctioneerExpress.com for a surplus property auction. The firm will receive between 3.5 and 7.5 percent of the proceeds, depending on the amount of revenue. In a separate vote, the court added some items to the previously-approved list of objects to be auctioned.

• Set COBRA rates for county employees at the rate recommended by County Treasurer Myra Harris. She said no employees are currently on COBRA.

• Approved District Clerk Carolyn Parrott’s request to purchase a document scanner from the county Records Management Fund.

• In separate votes, removed Private Road 2304 from, and added, Private Road 2034, to the county road inventory for county maintenance to correct what Pct. 3 Comm. Cole Hefner indicated was a clerical error.

• Proclaimed the first week in November as Texas Extension Association Week.

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